The success of your fundraising campaign relies on whether or not your nonprofit has put in the time to develop a comprehensive, data-driven fundraising strategy. With the right fundraising plan in place, the more likely you’ll be able to extend the right asks to reach likely donors and achieve your fundraising goals.The secret to an excellent fundraising strategy? Consider making the most of a gift range chart.
Commonly used during the feasibility study phase of capital campaigns, gift range charts are useful tools for fundraising campaigns of any size. With this simple tool, you’ll learn exactly what it will take to successfully reach your fundraising goals.
Even better? Your gift range chart can show your nonprofit where you need to improve in your fundraising strategy, whether or not your fundraising goal is too ambitious, and where to focus your fundraising strategy.
Before your campaign begins, you’ll be able determine the optimal size of your asks, the breakdown of your ideal prospects, and which donors you should be engaging.
In this post, we’ll help you get the most out of your gift range chart by discussing:
Are you ready to learn how to use gift range charts to bring your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy to the next level? Let’s get started!
1. Why you should use a gift range chart.
Without question, gift range charts should be a part of your fundraising strategy arsenal (if they aren’t already). Despite their deceptively simple design, gift range charts can tell you a lot about your fundraising strategy, especially if your nonprofit is looking to embark on a capital campaign.(Looking to sharpen your fundraising strategy? Consider working with a fundraising consulting firm to revamp the way your nonprofit raises money for your cause.)Specifically, gift range charts can let your nonprofit know:
If your nonprofit is looking to take on a substantial project or construct a new building in the future, you might need to start planning a capital campaign.
Because capital campaigns can sometimes extend for years, you’ll need to establish a timeline to help you and your team stay on track while you plan and raise money for your nonprofit’s project.
Below, you’ll find a general timeline for a capital campaign.
Here are the three core stages of any effective capital campaign:
Naturally, your capital campaign may have fewer or more steps depending on how much money you’re trying to raise and how much time you have. Use these steps as a beginning template and add or subtract as necessary.And for more information, check out our Breakthrough Guide to Capital Campaigns!
Think of your capital campaign as ship out at sea. A ship can’t get from point A to point B without a crew of people. Each individual has their own part to play and without cohesion, the ship would quickly devolve into mutiny.Your capital campaign can’t steer itself. You need a dedicated crew to help take it from one harbor to the next.Cheesy ship metaphors aside, a capital campaign team or committee relies on a solid base to help lead it to success.
This base is usually comprised of the following individuals:
Staff or faculty
Your capital campaign committee can also breakup into smaller subcommittees depending on the size and scope of your project. However you decide to segment your committee, make sure that everyone meets regularly and is on the same page going forward.
Set a goal, deadline, and budget for your capital campaign.
Capital campaigns are centered around raising a specific amount of money in a certain timeframe. Therefore, before you start raising any money, make sure that you set a reasonable financial goal and deadline.Additionally, you’ll need to set a budget for the various expenses that will occur during the planning and fundraising process.
Complete a feasibility study.
A feasibility study should be completed during the planning process to determine whether or not the capital campaign will actually be successful.A feasibility study can be conducted in-house or can make use of an outside consultant. Either way, it involves the interviewing of 30 to 40 individuals to determine whether or not the capital campaign can raise the needed funds in the allotted time.These interviewees can range from board members to general members of the community. The group should include past major gifts donors as well as other fundraising prospects.
After carefully planning and preparing for your capital campaign, it’s time to put all that hard work into action! Implementing a capital campaign takes place in two phases. We’ll cover each of those stages separately.
The Quiet Phase
No, this is not the part of the capital campaign that requires you to whisper all the time. It’s actually more like a soft opening for your fundraising efforts.Let me explain. In order to gain massive public support (and donations!) for your capital campaign, your nonprofit has to show that others have already donated. People won’t donate to a project that they think will fail; the quiet phase of a capital campaign is when you rally your biggest supporters behind you.During this stage, the members of your capital campaign committee will be soliciting major gift donors, corporations, and government agencies for substantial donations. Make sure that each individual is well-versed in proper etiquette for asking for donations.
The Public Phase
After you’ve received donations and pledges from your various major gift donors and local corporations, it’s time to enter the public phase.The public phase of your capital campaign is when you will solicit a large amount of smaller donations from members of the community. The public phase usually begins with a kickoff ceremony. If your capital campaign is building related, you could host the kickoff at the building site to show attendees what your proposed plan is.The kickoff event doesn’t necessarily have to be a fundraising event, but some people may want to give donations after getting excited about the campaign. Make sure that you have ways for people to donate at your event.The rest of the public phase will require broad outreach tactics to help you reach your financial goal within the deadline.
3. Following Up
Congratulations! You’ve successfully planned and implemented your capital campaign. You’ve raised the money to pay for a large project or initiative. You can finally rest, right?
Not until you follow up with donors!
Following up with donors after a capital campaign can take several forms. Let’s take a look at each of them separately.
Saying thank you
Gertrude Stein once said that, “Silent gratitude isn’t very much to anyone.” She has a point! You should vocally and publicly recognize the people who helped you reach your goal.Saying thanks to your donors will largely depend on the amount of the donation and your relationship with that donor. If you receive a large contribution from a regular supporter, you should publicly and privately thank that individual for their donation. Perhaps this thanks could take place at the kickoff event or at a closing ceremony. Additionally, you’ll need to send out thank you letters, cards, or emails to the rest of your supporters. No gift should go un-thanked. A capital campaign can’t be successful without the generosity of your donors.Finally, you’ll need to show appreciation to your committee members. After months and maybe even years of hard work and planning, they deserve more than a pat on the back. Make sure that you properly thank everyone that had a hand in soliciting major gift donors, corporations, and other individual supporters.
Keeping donors updated
People rarely like donating to a cause or project and then ignoring it. It’s your nonprofit’s job to keep donors updated on the project and show them how their contributions have affected your nonprofit.These updates can take the form of:
Special events for major gift donors.
Newsletters and emails.
A ceremony after the project is complete.
Phone calls to major gift donors.
However you plan on communicating progress, make sure that you thank donors again to emphasize how meaningful their contributions were and how much you appreciate their continued support.
And there you have it! You’re all set to plot out the various steps of your capital campaign timeline. For more information about planning a capital campaign, check out our comprehensive article with 14 in-depth steps
So, your organization needs to raise a significant amount of money for a particular project. This might be a long-awaited renovation for your organization’s headquarters or perhaps another big-ticket project that can’t be covered by your annual fundraising efforts alone.
After examining all fundraising routes, you’ve determined that a capital campaign is the right way to go.
Before you dive straight into fundraising, there are a number of steps that you have to take to properly plan your capital campaign. To get your capital campaign off the ground, you should:Assemble a capital campaign committee.